Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship Programme

We offer Biomedical Vacation Scholarships funded by Wellcome so that undergraduates can gain experience of working in a real laboratory

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We offer undergraduate students Biomedical Vacation Scholarships funded by Wellcome. These awards provide you with valuable experience of working in real research laboratories during the summer vacation months, while being paid a salary.

The scheme provides research opportunities for groups that are currently underrepresented in postgraduate research. It is recognised nationally that that financial, socio-economic and other life circumstances can make it difficult for some to continue studying beyond an undergraduate degree. As such, we aim to award at least 50% of these scholarships to individuals meeting one or more of the criteria listed below.

If you do not meet any of these criteria, you are still eligible to apply.

To learn more about the application process, see our main summer opportunities webpage.

Widening participation criteria

  • The postcode of your home address (during the final year of your secondary education) is in a Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 20% zone.
  • If the school that provided your secondary school education (during your final year) is on our priority list
  • Be in the first generation of your family to go to university (e.g. your (step)mother or (step)father did not go to University)
  • If your personal circumstances have been especially challenging. For example: if you are or have been:
    • a looked after person (Care experienced)
    • someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without your support
    • a government refugee or asylum seeker.

If you are studying at a university outside of Scotland, the following criteria will also apply:

  • Studying at a non-Russell group university

Fulfilling one or more of the criteria above will give your application a contextual flag and will be prioritised for funding.

If you are awarded a scholarship and have declared that you meet one or more of the criteria listed above you will be expected to provide evidence for this.


We particularly encourage students from groups that are currently underrepresented in postgraduate research, including black and minority ethnic (BME) students and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

1) You can apply for a Biomedical Vacation Scholarship if you're studying for an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject and you want to find out more about research in the biomedical sciences. Examples of relevant subjects include:

  • science (including biological, biomedical, natural, computing or physical sciences)
  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • veterinary medicine
  • engineering
  • mathematics.

2) The University where you are currently doing your undergraduate degree is in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

3) You are in the middle year(s) of your degree, and have not yet undertaken a substantial period of research. You should typically be on track to achieve a final degree grade of a 2:1 or First degree.

You must not:

  • have previously undertaken a vacation scholarship from Wellcome or another funding body, or have had significant research experience 
  • have completed or are currently undertaking an intercalated year
  • have completed or are currently undertaking a one-year placement in research as part of your degree (e.g. a sandwich year)
  • be a graduate-entry medical student who has completed a previous undergraduate degree in a science-related subject.


While on your placement, we provide you with:

  • a salary at the national living wage for a period of 6-8 weeks
  • mentoring by experienced researchers
  • participation in School of Life Sciences Summer School symposium
  • “buddying” with an existing Wellcome funded PhD student
  • £500 given to the host research group to go towards the cost of materials and consumables for the project
  • additional support (of up to £1500) to cover travel and accommodation expenses where required.
  • eligibility to apply for additional funding under our Flexible Dependent Care Grant Scheme for those with primary care responsibilities (e.g. child care)

Applications are now closed

The portal for 2023 applications will open in Dec 2022, check the website for details.